Sunday, April 29, 2012

Coconut chocolate chip banana bread

  
Banana bread is a wonderful classic for a reason - it's delicious. The smell of it baking makes me happy and reminds me of being a kid. It's comforting and perfect with a cup of tea. Why it's called bread though, I don't really understand. Aside from the loaf shape, it's basically a cake, just like most sweet quick breads and muffins really... But, that's OK. Banana bread is and will always be the perfect thing to make when you don't eat all of your bananas before they turn brown.

This banana bread recipe is inspired by the lemony olive oil banana bread with chocolate chips recipe from Melissa Clarks' Eat this Now. I used the lemon, but decided to add some coconut and used coconut oil instead of olive. I'm completely in love with coconut oil right now and have been using it in a lot of recipes lately. This is my adapted recipe. It will make one loaf of banana bread.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Peanut chocolate chip cookies


So apparently April is my blog-slacking month. I feel it this year, and I looked back at the last two years and found that they were also low in posts. I think it's because April is one of those transition months. It's not really winter anymore and the spring foods are not yet ready in our neck of the woods. So it's kind of an uninspiring month for me at times. Especially when it's 70 degree one day and then after a weird winter of no snow, we're supposed to get 4-inches of snow the next day! That kind of weather does tend to make me feel like baking something though. I had bookmarked these cookies to make and decided to give them a try. What I most liked about these cookies is that they included chopped peanuts and a hint of peanut butter in them, rather than just adding chocolate chips to peanut butter cookies, or peanuts to chocolate chip cookies. I decided to use salted peanuts, too, which was a great idea. These cookies have just a hint of peanut butter flavor and some depth from the whole wheat flour. Then you add in the chocolate and salted peanuts which makes them extra special. 

I modified the original recipe to the one below. This recipe will make about 28 to 30 cookies. As much as I love cookies, I'm really looking forward to rhubarb, asparagus, peas, strawberries, and the rest of spring's produce arriving in western NY!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Carrot cake pancakes


Do you remember at the end of 2011 when I promised myself I'd make more pancakes in 2012? Until now, the only new pancakes I've made this year were coconut pancakes. I've been toying around with the idea of creating a carrot pancake that has the flavors of carrot cake. Then I decided to search the net and I realized that I'm far from the first person to ever think of doing this. There are a lot of carrot cake pancake recipes floating around out there. So instead of recreating one, I used this one as a guide for my pancakes. The recipe turned out pretty great. I really liked that they were packed full of carrots, too. There are more carrots than flour in this recipe, which makes me feel better about eating a stack of them for breakfast.

The topping for these pancakes are what make them extra special and really reminded me of carrot cake. So don't skimp on making the cream cheese topping - it's easy and it's delicious! This recipe will serve three to four people.  

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Pasta with leeks and oyster mushrooms


Pasta is one of my go-to favorites for a quick weeknight meal. I know that we shouldn't eat pasta very often and all that, but I love it! I started making this dish, or a version of it, a few years back and somehow it never made it to my blog until now. While my husband and I were eating it this time around, I was reminded of a time when we spent the weekend away in a cabin in a pretty secluded area (but it had a nice little kitchen). I made this pasta for our dinner one night. It was a wonderful weekend where we just hiked, read, played cards, and ate. I like dishes like these that are simple to make and still very satisfying.

Sometimes I change up the mushroom type, so feel feel free to try different ones. Oysters are quickly becoming one of my favorite mushrooms though. This pasta dish isn't full of a heavy sauce and it really makes the mushrooms and leeks the star of the dish. I also like to incorporate some chives and garlic (because almost everything is better with garlic). This dish will serve about four people. Serve with a green salad and some crusty bread if you like.  

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Maple-pecan scones


Most people tend to associate maple with fall. I know that I do, even though I know better. Maybe it's because maple goes so well with the rest of fall's food like squash, sweet potatoes, and apples? Maybe it's because of the maple leaves associated with fall? I'm not sure. But, I do know that maple season is really in March. Around here, it's a pretty big deal. There's an official Maple Weekend, pancake breakfasts all over the place, and lots of freshly boiled maple syrup for sale. We always buy up gallon containers of maple syrup because I use maple in a lot of my cooking and baking. Recently, I was able to get some Grade B maple syrup (which has a deeper flavor and tends to be better for baking) from Beyers Maple Farm. Once I had the delicious Grade B syrup in my hand, I was inspired to bake something that would highlight the maple flavor. I decided on scones, because I had everything on hand for this recipe and thought it would be a lovely treat for a cool Sunday morning. 

These scones were delicious. They weren't too sweet, had a perfect amount of maple flavor, and an earthiness from the whole wheat flour and pecans. This recipe will make 8 scones.